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Category: Flowers and Plants

Annual, perennial and interesting flowers with advice on culture, information, tips and recommended varieties

Ecological Disaster in My Garden

Ecological Disaster in My Garden

My garden helps some wild life but I recognise eco-disasters are all my fault when I consider how I am contributing to environmental problems. I do try make adjustments to my consumption of resources but in reality it is a net failure.

Some of my 2020 ecological  disasters

  • I use a lot of water with 2 outside taps, 2 very small ponds, 2 equally small water butts and lots and lots of hand watering.
  • Plant miles created by me have hitherto been quite excessive. I drive to garden centers on a regular basis buying plants that have probably been raise abroad in electrically enhanced hothouse conditions then driven 100’s of miles to market.Packaging will generally be in plastic pots or some similar wrapping
  • Most of the seeds I buy are in multicoloured packets and contents are progressively fewer in number.
  • This year there are no frogs visible in my main pond despite early frog spawn. Do adult frogs find it too hard to get out of the water from this plastic molded version that replaced a leaky cement home made version. Either that or the major temperature changes this year have had an effect.
  • Dare I admit I use peat!

  • It may be unfair to blame corvid for the weather which confused lots of plants with an early dry summer, sharp frosts, droughts and then torrents of rain. On balance flowering plants have held their own with my patio roses managing three good flushes so far!
  • Htdrangeas did less well and I allowed perennial sweet peas to grow through the shrubs for a bit of colour.
  • Delphiniums failed but first early potatoes did well

English Walled Kitchen Gardens

English Walled Kitchen Gardens

Walled gardens make great spaces for your special kitchen garden. Traditionally associated with larger estates, country houses and stately homes many were designed to provide a continual supply of fresh fruit, flowers and vegetables for the ‘big house’. It is the micro climate that walled gardens induce thus creating the facility to grow more exotic fruit trees against walls or with the aide of heated glasshouses.

There are many more discrete kitchen gardens where you can model your own food producing plot with ideas in this National Trust book. Even one well situated wall can provide shelter climbing space and support within a kitchen garden.

 

Book Cover

Making Mulch not Compost

Making Mulch not Compost

I know I can use all sorts of materials as a mulch but I like the organic versions. Here I have piled it high well before it is ready as a mulch much less a compost

To help me with another problem, that of too much compost, I am going to try combining the two issues to solve both problems and use partially rotted compost as mulch. I have 3 large compost bins and a wheely bin for large wooden items but due to 2020 output this capacity has been far too little. Thankfully I can now book a slot at the council waste refuse site to take my tree stumps and larger items.

Mulch v Compost Issues

  • I need to be wary of seed infestations as the mulch has not had time to generate enough heat to kill off annual weeds.
  • I also hope to benefit from disturbing rats because they seem to have taken a liking to my compost that often generally kitchen waste.
  • It my be just my feelings but I like organic much to be damp and able to hold moisture. This means mulchable compost is good for the soil & (soul).
Rabbit Pests not Pets

Rabbit Pests not Pets

The best place for rabbits, if it is not in a pie, is in the wild meadows and byways of the countryside. There they can do as their mum tells them and ‘eat up their greens’. As a vegetarian this is what rabbits do and that is why gardeners start to worry about them eating cultivated greens.

Literary Rabbits

  • Peter Rabbit  sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s garden to eat as many vegetables as he can before Mr. McGregor tries to catch him. Peter manages to escape as other rabbits do in my garden.
  • Then there is the image of Bugs Bunny eating a never-ending carrot. What a way to encourage kids to become gardeners.
  • Tar-Baby is about a doll made of tar and turpentine used by  Br’er Fox to trap Br’er Rabbit. The more that Br’er Rabbit fights the Tar-Baby the more entangled he becomes:- a modern metaphor?  This is not a recommended control method for gardeners.
  • White Rabbit is a  character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland wearing a waistcoat like many gardeners from that era.
  • Roger Rabbit and Jessica bred a film franchise as quickly as rabbits seem to do when feeding on lettuce.

Rabbit prevention Tips

Patio Roses

Patio Roses

June is a wonderful time to appreciate the variety of easy care patio roses that are now available.

Third Year of outstanding Flowering

Facts about Patio Rose

  • Small and miniature versions of the traditional floribunda type of rose are being bred of the smaller gardens, window boxes, patios or decking areas.
  • ‘Peter Beales’ rose grower offers patio climbers, ramblers and a variety of shrub roses for patios
  • Patio roses can thrive in pots, containers or direct in the ground
  • The smaller cousins ‘miniature roses’ grow to a height of between 12 and 18 inches.
  • Patio plants grow up to 30″ tall are generally hardy and repeat well.

 Yorkshire Princess Patio Rose

Care Tips for Patio Roses

  • I have been fortunate but there have been no greenfly or bug infestations of any note. I would be ready with a garlic spray or proprietary insecticide if needs must.
  • Only one out of a dozen plants has suffered fro black spot and as you can see the pots are close together so I must be lucky.
  • I gave my plants a mini prune in early spring after a winter prune to keep the plants short and prevent wind damage

On My Patio with Room for More

Primula Allionii & Denticulata

Primula Allionii & Denticulata

Primula Allionii  Pink Aire

White Denticulata

Denticulata

Primula allionii Broadwell Milk Maid

Notes on these primula plants.

  • I am taken with the formation of the inflorecence or bud formations that have so many similarities in these four plants from two species.
  • There are two pot grown primula allionii plunged in a large bed of gritty sand located in a well aired glasshouse.
  • The two colours of Primula denticulata are growing in my garden and worth a drumroll every spring.
  • The purple plant is yet to open to its fullest extent but the tight buds hint at a brash splash or colour still to come.
  • You get a lot of small individual flowers on each of these Primulas and I think they are exceptional value for the spring show they give to gardeners.
Gardeners Aphorisms

Gardeners Aphorisms

Zonal Pelargonium aka Geranium

ranium is a French verb – Je ranium Tu ranium il / elle ramium

The young sow wild oaks, the old grow sage and the lazy grow weeds.

A gardener is the most optimistic and hopeful person who believes and trusts in the future.   after Susan Hill

Though an old man I am a young gardener.   Thomas Jefferson

You get the most of what you don’t want

Love your garden whether  you like it or not

All gardeners know better than other gardeners

‘My garden will never make me famous
I’m a horticultural ignoramus’ – Ogden Nash

Soil is like a bran tub, you only get out of it what you put in – if you are lucky!

Indoor Primula Obconica Tips

Indoor Primula Obconica Tips

primula-obconica

We gardeners hopefully learn as we go along and this post is an update of a 6 year old report on indoor primulas.

‘Indoor plants that are in full flower in January include the strongly coloured Primula Obconica shown above. They look good in traditional blues, pinks and white with the new Twilly series including a strong red. There are plenty of long lasting blooms particularly if you pick off dead flowers. The hairs on the back of leaves can be an irritant so take care if you have sensitive skin, the plant is also known as Poison Primrose.

Plants at garden centers may have been grown specifically for a quick show of colour that makes them saleable and decorative as indoor plants. They are probably not frost free or very hardy.
Primula 011

Primula Obconica

  • Unlike other Primula obconica varieties, Twilly Touch Me is primine free, so causes no skin irritation.
  • Grown from seed give them dark to germinate. They flower the following spring/summer in the cool greenhouse or as a houseplant.
  • Primula obconica produce a dozen different colours of flowers.
  • The flowers last for several weeks if spent flowers are deadheaded regularly.
  • Do not let the plants dry out and the leaves become floppy.

Other species of Indoor Primulas include Primula malacoides a perennial plant for a heated greenhouse or conservatory. Also known as the Fairy primrose it is NOT hardy.

Primula sinensis the Chinese Primrose aka Primula praenitens is hard to obtain but the flowers look stunning so it is worth looking for.

Primula 003
Showing the soft fleshy leaves of ‘Twill Touch Me Series’ of Indoor Primula obconica. The Primula stem holds the flowers proud of the leaves.’

Pelargoniums Planted in Pelargonia

Pelargoniums Planted in Pelargonia

I have flirted with geraniums for several decades but never achieved the full satisfaction of a great display. Now I have a new plan to dedicate an area in the garden, dare I call it a zone? to some of these colourful plants. To give me an incentive to dedicate time and effort I have given it a name Pelargonia as I thought Geraniumistan was going to confuse the issue with cranesbill geranium or hardy geraniums.

As you can see from the search link I have blogged on 67 occasions about pelargoniums and geraniums over the Gardeners Tips years.

Frost Tender Pelargoniums

  1. After several good years I got careless one weekend and lost some good growth and suffered several set backs after an air frost. A similar event took place 6 years ago and that was at the beginning of June.
  2. Remember if your pelargonium stems get frosted then the plant will die and not recover!
  3. In the North of England there can be frosts late in May and early June. In Scotland and on high ground keep your thermometer handy whenever frost is threatened.

 

                            My flikr selection -hover & press the arrow

Zonal geraniums are more accurately called ‘Pelargoniums’. The zonal is named for the distinct bands of colour around the leaf. On the example below 3 distinct shades are obvious even in a black and white image. These distinctive colours and patterns are quite sought after and some varieties are grown for the leaf shade alone.

Engraved Zonal Pelargonium

Pelargonium House Plants

  • If you are worried about frost, geraniums make fine house plants. They can be kept in flower throughout the year and the flowers can be picked for a small vase. If you time it right when several ‘pips’ are showing full colour they can last a couple of weeks as the other pips keep opening.
  • Regular weekly feeding of high potash feed with an occasional nitrogen booster will grow a substantial specimen.
  • Pinch out the growing tip in April and June to get bushy plants with more flowers.

Regal Pelargonium indoor pot plant

Ideas for Better Garden Photographs

Ideas for Better Garden Photographs

Compose your photo shot with care to get the image you want and only that image. In this photo the moss and drainpipe do not add anything to the desired result so they need to be cropped out for the next image where ‘Carols’ bucket takes center stage. If the original has been taken with high resolution the cropped image will not suffer. The spade could have been aligned better to show the handle.

Know your cameras capabilities and take several shots until you find an image you like. Be self-critical of your work and regular practice will help to get better results next time

Despite standing on the low wall to look down on the garden only the crazy paving benefited and I should consign this to the compost (I mean the recycle bin). The aim was to have a foreground that didn’t compromise the key middle ground and then a background that didn’t distract. Shame that this photo failed on all aims with the neighboring houses standing out and catching the eye and the key middle ground achieving nothing much.

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